Roy Blunt announces his candidacy for the U.S. Senate Thursday afternoon, February 19, 2009, at the Common Pleas Courthouse in Cape Girardeau.
Blunt, a former Missouri Secretary of State who has been in Congress since 1996, spoke to about 40 Republican Party activists and community leaders in a Cape Girardeau stop at the Common Pleas Courthouse. During his remarks, Blunt emphasized that he wants to balance the Democratic dominance in the House, Senate and White House.
"Fundamentally, Missourians don't want Washington D.C. Democrats to run the country," Blunt said.
Blunt is making his first statewide run since losing the GOP primary for governor in 1992. He will campaign to replace U.S. Sen. Kit Bond, a Republican who was first elected in 1986.
The recent votes on President Barack Obama's $789 billion economic stimulus bill are an example of where a few votes can be important, Blunt said. The GOP has 41 Senate seats, enough to block major legislation if party unity is maintained. But when three Republicans in the Senate voted with the Demcorats, the opportunity to block or rewrite the stimulus bill was lost, Blunt said.
"I voted against it, all the Republicans in the House voted against it, and all the Republicans in the Senate voted against it except for three," Blunt said. "And when you subtract those three out, suddenly that obstacle, that speed bump that is so important that we keep there, is not there."
During his more than 20 years in office. Bond has become adept at bringing home money for Missouri projects, whether it is securing a bigger portion of federal highway funds or obtaining earmarked appropriations for specific projects. In contrast, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat elected in 2006, has denounced earmarks and pledged not to ask for any earmarked appropriations.
Blunt said he will work to emulate Bond when it comes to finding money for Missouri.
"The whole phrase earmark I think is both, can be used in a way that suggests that somehow there is something that everybody doesn't know about," Blunt said. "I will transparently fight for things that are good for Missouri, just like I have as a House member. We are going to compete. I'm not gong to unilaterally disarm and say, 'all you other Senators take whatever you want for your state but Missouri doesn't have anybody who's going to be fighting for them.' That won't be me. I am going to be out there competing for our state."
No other Republicans have announced their intention to seek Bond's seat, but former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman, who lost the GOP nomination for governor last year, issued a statement Thursday that she is still considering the contest.
Secretary of State Robin Carnahan has already announced her intentions to seek the Democratic nomination.
For more, check back at semissourian.com or read Friday's Southeast Missourian.